Highland Council has been alerted to a Council Tax scam whereby scammers are cold calling and emailing residents claiming to offer a refund.
The companies are asking tenants/residents to give their bank account details, credit/debit card number and the three number security code on the back of the card. The advice for the council is as follows:
If you receive an email offering a Council Tax refund and asking you to provide you bank account details by clicking on a link, ignore it and delete the email.
If you are cold-called and asked to provide your bank details to receive a Council Tax refund, ignore the request and hang up.
Allan Gunn, Head of Revenues & Business Support explained: "Any communication with Council Tax payers from the Council’s Finance Service about something like a refund would be in writing. We would never cold call asking for bank details.
"Anyone receiving such an unsolicited call is advised to end the call immediately. Under no circumstances give any personal details to the caller. If anyone has a neighbour or relative who may be more susceptible to such activity, it would be helpful if this advice was passed on to them.
"If you have any doubt as to the authenticity of the call, please call the Council's freephone council tax helpline on 0800 393811.”
Highland Council’s Trading Standards Manager David MacKenzie added: “It is very tempting for hard-pressed consumers to respond to apparent offers of bargains or financial rewards. However our message is for the public to be extremely wary when such offers come in unsolicited phone calls or emails. Scammers will use any fake story that they think will work, be it prize draw wins, bargain-price goods or, as in this case, non-existent tax refunds. If in any doubt end the call or delete the email."
Highland Council Trading Standards work in partnership with Citizens Advice Consumer Service. Concerned residents can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service, who offer a free and confidential consumer advice helpline on 03454 04 05 06